Art : Perhaps?

imageArt Exhibition : Perhaps
A showing between – wait for it – Bank Holiday Monday Evening 26 May until
Closing 29 May 2014, the Thursday of the same week!

Gallery Catalyst Arts 5 College Court Belfast 1

23 artists in this Ground Floor Space

No curators or teachers among the attendees of this BA Hons Fine Arts Student Exhibition opening night.

Art : Perhaps is the future of art being a group exhibition relying on sculpture and lens, printing, to show approaches of inner thought expressed by BA students here in Northern Ireland.
I cannot describe or respond to all the works seen at Catalyst Arts, 5 College Court, Belfast BT1 6BS which occupies that city space near the horrible statue the Black Man, Cooke. There is a short timespan and also 23 artists.
Art escapes the present and though created prior is active in being seen now by individuals in open exhibition. It is such a shame this exhibition is so short and closes on Thursday this week making way for the curation of the steady stream of exhibitions astutely put on by this relatively small Gallery space. They have a busy schedule and are restricted by time and finance in what they can mount.

Exhibits of the Group vie for wall space and floor space and thankfully few juxtapositions, close though some are, cause difficulty, though it is difficult not only being a group exhibition where you are looking at ONE small fraction of EACH artists work at this present time. The diversity of work each individual undertakes is vividly absent from contemplation. Not only that the Arts Council instead of finding larger individual spaces, including this one, rely on marginalised underfunded Galleries for art that is challenging, progressive, provocative and speaks of originality such as art can deliver. The chief of Arts Council Northern Ireland gets around £77,000 In salary each year with the ability to suck in more funds to pay for ‘specialisms’ to reward them for their advice and direction, and a broad range of regarded experts and ‘custodians’ literature the favoured nemesis. The continuity of obscene payments go on to the risen people whose doctrine fits the range of middling literatural culture favoured but never criticised.

The Exhibition
Joanne McClary has six sweetly wooden framed drawings all equal size, each with mounting board providing a nice warmth of colour. – green, turquoise, blue, etc. She has drawn six p enculturation portraits of Vladimir Putin each having ubiquitous expression of this totem of power.
They are irrefutably vainglorious, pensive, declaratory, defensive and engaged. He is at his most malignant and imminently hostile.

Like the unfortunate Prince Charles remarks, made directly and not in response to art, (see also his Holiday venue of past years on Mount Athos, where for three years he, Prince Charles, spent around a week each year and then blathered about the Byzantine wonders of the Monastery he stayed at Vatopaidi. The one from which Father Arsenios scammed the Greek and EU to blistering millions and set up their own Real Estate company!) This art exhibition piece goes further ,harder, more inexhaustibly prescient, further in gathering so many ideas of the man behind the vile acts being carried out each day and hollers the reasons to us viscerally and visually.
Vladimer Putin in these drawings has the face paint of the clown.
Whether intentional or not the agonizing psychological state of many past masters of the Clown art come to mind being closely parallel to a different violent derangement as possibly pursued by this richest of world autocrats,. He is engaged in harming the LGBT community and Joanne Mc Clary shows with a video on a screen middle and beneath the portraits footage of hate crime and pursuit and beatings of homosexuals and people whose life’s are threatened daily by protagonists of the hate agenda being put into constitutional fixity by direction from Putin himself. His hate is extraordinary in its vileness and this is given great meaning and simple yet sophisticated focus with this brilliant piece of art conception.

Declan Procter has in the space split with the normal partition device Catalyst curators deploy ingeniously when separation is absolutely essential,.
To achieve the light levels and for a space to be shaped by Declan Proctor to create screens, walls, small structures, on which to receive his own films.
They are of the environs and edges, of fire water earth and air, onto the stud division wall dark painted and the inanimate floor, grey , scarred and uneven contributing to the defining logic of the piece of the continuous alteration of imagery. Into it comes on one wall a silhouette of one of the smaller object screens which Declan has obscured, leaving the o uter edges (much in the way Mark Wallinger has used in the past) to deny prompt appreciation of what you are looking at. Asking you again to define for yourself what you are seeing or reading. Four plastic stackable seats are at each point of the compass facing to the central piece, a small in itself strange changing yet fixed screen object – I leave out a description, the intention being on for each viewer to make what they wish of this astounding work. The compass points are perhaps a desire to root this work, or instead it may be pushing you into regognising it from a fixed chosen position. Also it may be that you chose not at all to sit but move all the time or sit on the floor and reflect become immersed in the many directions spiraling out of this well conceived work.  There are details which are worth also following.  The ‘chapters’ of film each are stories.

Aimee Hutchinson uses much smaller drawings and has gathered, obviously a small element of her subjective based work to exhibit, which is both socially appraising and shockingly surreal in looking at supposed real forms desiring other things. She documents marginalality and suggests hidden meanings, much of what are similarly banal, overtly strange and particularly weird, disconcerting. There are obviously other shades to this artists work and I would assume none of it is shaded grey. Though… well I leave you to investigate. The imagery is of people discovered on other media, sometimes fairly mainstream.

Dryan Wilson might get a mention just for his name, but more importantly the sculptural work in this exhibition requires and crystal out for more s pace, indeed Dryan has maxed the space given to him in organically swallowing the column he wraps a twisting spiral of same size wood units in a weave. It is as an invasive creeper, the tree becoming the inversion of the winding form and it reaches the full height of the room. Scale is important and the tree is surrounded by other pieces, less, same, more demanding in the confines of this Gallery as others. It is what it is, where it is.  There are of course other works of this kind, but what the viewer is unable to do is see this in the context of other work, its relation and development as opposed to being similar too.. Which is the refugee of art crituque everywhere.  Its derivation.  Sucks reading this academic diatribe normally and I  hope to avoid it.


Brendan McKinley who I spoke with at length has also one piece which is shown in one of the photographs here. This work is cleverly between the main and second space keeping its detachment, ( desired-and- focusing) is of three varied radial tree segment rings made up of individually narrow cuts of a few inches each bonded to the next, invisibly and meandering around like a wave until they meet up with the piece that began the journey. Three sets of journeys take place each of different ‘rough’ diameter and sit related as family in a corner.Brendan McKinley has many many pieces , each as stimulating in various relations and including symmetry with the other more random organic pieces.

A key part of this radical work using wood and its inherent meaning is a relation to sound, sound waves and patterns.
There is so much more, unseen most probably work which speaks into other artists work and relates to many everyday and human concerns and this small example is very clearly evidently prime art and not a simple primer.

There were other very fine pieces going here undocumented among the 23 in all artist contributors.

John Graham

27 May 2014



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